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  • Cafe Team

Ipswich Students Reflect on Storm Café

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Published 2019, Ipswich Cafe Team


On Sunday, February 10, the Ipswich Climate Café team hosted our first café! At the first Church in Ipswich, students, environmentalists, teachers, and community members alike joined together to talk about the implications of severe weather, and what we can do about it.

Everyone in my group— 3 students and two first-time café-ers — had incredibly unique storm experiences to share. Simone shared the story of her mother’s near death experience from an unexpected ice patch. Cory shared about the fear she felt while working at her assisted living facility for hours during a storm, unsure of the safety of her cats or her house. Shannon, (my grandmother), shared her shock of how unprepared for storms she is after moving into her new home in Ipswich. She remembers living 6 days without power in an unannounced ice storm. Liv related a more positive memory: her neighborhood gathered together in a storm to celebrate the snow, rather than resent it. The group as a whole talked about how important it is to be self-prepared in a storm. That is the only way we are able to begin to assist those who have less resources or agility than us. We mentioned the frozen homeless in Chicago and how that could have been prevented if there was a proper procedure in place. This conversation brought together 5 unlikely women, creating a unique mutual learning environment. I am so grateful to be a part of this incredible movement.

Update: Shannon met Cory through this cafe and Cory became my grandfather's caretaker. Climate Cafes truly are Conversations that Connect!

Teaghan Duff This was my first Climate Café, and although there was only a small crowd, it was still really engaging. Storm and severe weather preparation is not the most common focus when dealing with the climate change issue, but it is smart to think about, especially since it’s one that each of us can do something about. It was really interesting to look back and think about how common these crazy weather events are recently, and how lucky we’ve all been each time considering the potential for damage each one holds. The focus for the future, then, has to be how we can be prepared instead of just lucky. The Café did a great job focusing on this, specifically getting us to examine both our lives and our town for ways we can be ready for the future. We brainstormed a lot of ideas that could actually make our town safer; whether or not any come to pass, it’s still important to raise awareness and get people thinking. I would definitely like to go to another Climate Café; they’re a great way of connecting with the community and getting a conversation going around different aspects of climate change. Nicole I was a host at the storm Climate Café, where the topic of conversation was storm preparation. At first, the focus was on making sure you were individually prepared for a storm. We talked about having go-bags ready, and an emergency shelter and evacuation plan in place. I know at my table, pretty much everyone including myself did not have these things, even though we had all experienced some pretty scary storms. I think the conversation we had about preparation really put these experiences into perspective, and even though I was the host I was able to learn about ways to ensure I was prepared for the next storm. The conversation then expanded into talking about how we could help others in need of help during storms. One of the best ideas at my table was creating neighborhood captains. Recognizing that many neighbors don’t communicate as much as they used to, we thought that if one designated person was in charge of preparing their neighborhood for a storm it would make the process a lot easier. They would find out which people in the neighborhood would need people to check on them, such as the elderly, and which people had extra bedrooms in the case anyone needed to evacuate, rather than trying to find their way to a shelter. I really enjoyed talking with my table and was very proud of the ideas we came up with together. Each time I have hosted a Climate Café I have been amazed that adults are willing to listen to students, hear out their opinions, and work together with them. Often, students feel as though they aren't listened to, and Climate Café's are a place where they can be sure they will be. Mei The Climate Café last Sunday (February 10th) was a huge success. Students as well as members of the community participated in enriching discussions, creating a safe space to converse over new and innovative ideas to help make our community safer and more prepared. My group focussed on neighborhood communities. It is so easy to live an independent life, not noticing those around you. We discussed the need for communication between neighbors, knowing who you can rely on in times of trouble, and safe places to go during a storm. We also talked about the dangers on the coast, specifically on Great Neck in Ipswich and Plum Island in Newbury who are separated from the downtown area with possible restricted access to town resources We believe that there should be recreational buildings where people can reside in these areas to keep everyone safe, no matter their location.

Margot Our most recent Climate Café was a success. My team worked so hard over the past few months to put it together. I’m so proud of how it turned out, especially considering it was Ipswich’s first time hosting a caféby ourselves. I was very happy to see not only local Ipswich residents in attendance, but also individuals from other areas. My group had a well-rounded conversation, as we were lucky to have members from a diverse variety of perspectives and experiences. Our discussion included ideas in how communities can provide supplies to their residents, the importance in neighborly communication, and the maintenance of community shelters. One comment in particular stood out to me. Someone in my group mentioned that you can’t force people to take charge in a hazardous situation, you can only be there to support them when they need help. I think all New England residents can and should maintain this attitude, especially considering the abundance of storms in our area. We can buy supplies and shelters but when a storm does hit, the most important thing we can do is look out for each other.

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